Home for the Holidays

I always have mixed feelings when the holiday season comes around because I’ve had some really great Christmases and a lot of awful ones. It’s kind of hard to watch and hear everyone talk about how much they love this time of year because their families come together and they actually have fun. But I have experiences of crying in my room on Christmas Eve before going to church with my family or of getting into literal fights with my sister or parents. But the moments that are good, they’re the best and they’re some of my favorite traditions.

Christmas Eve, My Tradition

The way I always start my holiday traditions is on Christmas Eve. I’m Filipina and in the Filipino culture instead of celebrating “Christmas” on Christmas, we actually celebrate on Christmas Eve. We have Noche Buena, which is our Christmas dinner that takes place on Christmas Eve night. So the morning of Christmas Eve, my mom, sister, and I start cooking and baking for the dinner. I always make my Lola’s apple pie and that’s my first favorite tradition.

I’m really close to my Lola, she is my role model and I adore her. She's the best cook and baker I've ever met and all of her recipes are her own. She gave us the apple pie recipe years ago, but I started making it for my family about 8 years ago, when I was a freshman in high school. I've tried every year to make it as good as she does. To be completely honest I probably won't get there but I'm close. This is one of my favorite traditions because I feel like it brings me closer to my Lola, she was diagnosed with Parkinsons years ago and it's been getting hard as the years pass. She moved back home to the Philippines so I very rarely see her, but when I get to use her recipes, especially this apple pie one, I feel like she's with me again and telling me what to do.

Christmas Eve, My Siblings and I

Another one of my favorite traditions takes place after the Christmas Eve dinner, when my siblings and I are so full we think we’re going explode. My sister and I started this tradition years ago, when my parents started letting us stay up late on Christmas Eve. We change into our PJs, get whatever dessert we want, and watch the Polar Express and drink hot chocolate. My brothers started to join us about two years ago because they've finally admitted that they also like the Polar Express. We always make sure to have our mugs filled with hot chocolate when the hot chocolate scene comes on; that's our favorite part. This is one of my favorite traditions because it's real quality time with my siblings, we aren't arguing or stressed about school or being at home. It's just us being little kids again and those moments are so rare now, especially since we're all growing up. Three of us are in college and the youngest is graduating from high school this year, it won't be too long before we won't be able to do that every year. So even if being home is stressful, those moments are one of my favorites.

                                                                     Photo courtesy of Pexels

Christmas Day, My Family

If you know me, you know I absolutely love basketball, especially my boys, the Lakers. There's a Christmas game every year and my family and I always watch it. I've grown up watching basketball and loving the Lakers. Two years ago my family and I had the opportunity to watch the Lakers game live! They won and we got free tacos.  Because I love basketball, this is one of my favorite traditions because this is one of the things that my family and I love doing together. Even if the holiday season was stressful and we argued a lot, we always watch the game and for those few hours we're just having a good time and yelling for the boys to get their defense together.